3M COMBAT ARMS EARPLUG MULTIDISTRICT LITIGATION
3M Company is currently facing thousands of lawsuits as a result of a defective dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs which it issued to the US Military between 2003 and 2015. The serving military men and women as well as veterans accused 3M of issuing them defective earplugs knowingly, yet failed to warn the users.
In that vein, the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs were alleged to expose the users to extreme noise which the earplugs were supposed to protect them from. This occurs when the earplugs slips off the users’ ears without their knowledge due to the shortness of the earplugs. Such exposure the victims alleged, could lead to tinnutis or partial/total loss of hearing.
In 2008, 3M bought the Aearo Technology and continued with the contract of issuing the dual-ended earplugs to the military. According to the manufacturers, the yellow end was meant to protect users from explosion and loud noises while still allowing them to hear muted sounds or spoken commands. The olive end was to save users from sounds completely.
A whistle-blower filed a lawsuit in Jully 2018 against 3M alleging that 3M and Aearo knowingly supplied defective earplugs to the military over the years. The company agreed to pay $9.1 Million in settlement for these allegations. The company still refused to acknowledge the fault in the earplugs and so left them in circulation.
The 3M and its previous owner, Aearo Technologies produced and supplied the Military with the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs which they used while in active service for combat missions in places like Iraq and Afghanistan as well as training exercises. As a result, too many veterans and current service members from the Army, Navy, Airforce, National Guard, Coast Guard, Reserved and the Marines have hearing impairments.
Now, thousands of these military men, women and veterans are filing injury lawsuits against 3M for causing them to suffer from hearing impairments due to usage of the 3M Combat Arms Earplugs. The impairments come in the form of ringing in the ears or inability to hear properly or understand what someone is saying. These lawsuits are coming in waves from all over the country warranting the consolidation into a Multidistrict Litigation in the Northern District of Florida.